Monday, November 14, 2022

Tools for Translating Live Presentations

Last week a reader emailed me to ask the following question:

Do you have any recommendations for a live translation during a keynote address or conference? For example, if the speaker is doing their presentation in English but we have Spanish speakers in the audience. They can follow along by reading the Spanish on a projection screen as the presenter is talking in English.

As soon as I read the question I thought of Microsoft Translator and live captioning in PowerPoint. 

The live captioning function in PowerPoint lets you choose the language in which you want your subtitles to appear. The great thing about it is that you can have your subtitles appear in a language other than the one in which you are speaking. For example, you can speak in English and have your subtitles appear in Spanish. Watch this video for a demonstration of how it works. 

Microsoft Translator is another option for translating presentations in realtime. You can use it with or without PowerPoint. Watch this video for my brief demonstration of Microsoft Translator.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Creating and Conducting Polls in Google Slides and PowerPoint

Poll Everywhere is a polling tool that I've used off and on throughout the past decade. It's a great tool for gathering questions from an audience, polling an audience, and seeing word clouds of sentiment from an audience. People can respond to your poll questions from their laptops, tablets, and phones. 

You can use Poll Everywhere as a stand-alone tool or you can integrate it into Google Slides. When you use it in Google Slides you can seamlessly transition from your regular presentation into a polling slide. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Poll Everywhere in Google Slides. 

Poll Everywhere also offers a free PowerPoint add-in that you can use to create and conduct polls directly in your presentation. You can create polls that are multiple choice and open response. Results of the poll can be displayed in a variety of formats. Students can respond to your polls from their computers of phones anonymously or as logged-in users. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to create and conduct a poll in PowerPoint. The video also shows you how students respond to a poll created using the Poll Everywhere PowerPoint add-in. The features shown in the video work with both free and paid Poll Everywhere accounts. 

Felt - A New Way to Create Multimedia Maps

About a week ago Larry Ferlazzo mentioned a new mapping tool in one of his blog posts. That tool is called Felt. I tried it a few days ago and I have to say that I like it a lot. Felt offers a lot of easy-to-use tools for creating custom maps. Some of the features that immediately stood out to me included the ability to draw and type on maps, highlighting on the map, and adding multimedia placemarks to your map. But in my initial testing of Felt I found the best feature to be the library of data layers that you can overlay onto your map. 

To use Felt to create a custom map you do have to register for a free account. Once you've registered there is a helpful tutorial that walks you through ten things that you can do with Felt. The tutorial is displayed on an interactive map that reminds me a bit of gameboard like you might find in The Game of Life or Candy Land

The easiest way to customize a map on Felt is to use the drawing, typing, and highlighting tools. Those tools and all of the other Felt tools are displayed at the bottom of any map that you view. To draw on the map simply click the marker icon then draw on the map. You can choose different marker colors and marker stroke thicknesses to meet your needs. Highlighting is just as easy as drawing on the map and is done in the same manner. Typing on the map simply requires you to click on the type icon then click wherever you want your text to appear. And, of course, you can use all three tools together on the map. 

As previously mentioned, Felt offers a library of data layers that you can apply to your custom map. That library contains dozens of datasets divided into five categories. Those categories are Boundaries, Climate, Infrastructure, Nature & Exploration, and Science. All that you need to do to display a data layer on your map is click on it once in the library while working on your map. You can display multiple layers at the same time. For example, in the demonstration video that is embedded below I displayed both county borders and time zones. 

Applications for Education
My initial impression of Felt is that it is easy to use to create a custom map. In fact, I think it's probably easier to use for the first time than Google's My Maps or Google Earth is to use for the first time. And if you don't have a Google account, you can still use Felt to create a custom map (you do need to have a valid email address). That said, Felt doesn't have as many data layers as Google Earth so if you're looking to have students to dive into making detailed, mapped data displays, Google Earth is still going to be your better option.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Keep, Quiz, and Templates - The Week in Review

Good evening from Banner County, Nebraska! I'm here for the next few days to visit my good friends Kris and Beth Still. Those of you who have followed by blog since its early days may recall that Beth is the person who organized the NECC Newbie project way back in 2009. It was through her initiative that I was able to attend my first NECC (now ISTE) conference. For that, I am eternally grateful to Beth and all of you who supported that project because it dramatically altered the course of my career for the better. 

This week I wrote a few blog posts related to Geography Awareness Week that starts next week. I'll have more posts about it during the next few days including some posts about Google Earth and Google Maps. If you want to dive deeper into those areas, my course about Google Earth and Maps is 50% off for the rest of month when you use the code GEOAWARENESS22 on the registration page. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Is This the End of the Google Keep Chrome Extension?
2. GeoQuiz History Edition - A Fun and Challenging Geography Game
3. 30+ Activity Templates to Use in Google Classroom
4. CollegeLab - A Tool to Help Students Find Colleges They May Like
5. Math and Geography
6. 5 Things You Can Make With Microsoft Flip Besides Selfie Videos
7. How Focusable Helps Me Stop Procrastinating

50 Tech Tuesday Tips!
50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook that I created with busy tech coaches, tech integrators, and media specialists in mind. In it you'll find 50 ideas and tutorials that you can use as the basis of your own short PD sessions. Get a copy today!

Workshops and eBooks
If you'd like to have me speak at your school or conference, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) or fill out the form on this page. Book me for this school year and I'll include copies of my eBook for all of the teachers in your school. 

Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 43,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fifteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • If you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Strava.
This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Free, Customizable Clip Art

CoCoMaterial is an online library of almost 2,500 drawings that you can download and re-use for free. I've been using it for about a month and I really like the style of the artwork found on CoCoMaterial. It has been a hit with the folks participating in my Animated Explanations course this month. This week one of those people, Sarah G, pointed out that the drawings in CoCoMaterial can be customized before you download them. I'm not sure if this is a new development or just something that I've been overlooking. Either way, it's awesome!

In this brief video I demonstrate how you can use CoCoMaterial to find, customize, and download free clip art to use in your multimedia projects. 

Applications for Education
The drawings that are available on CocoMaterial are clean, simple, and easy to see. They could be great for use in classroom projects like simple web design, infographic design, or to just brighten-up the newsletters that you send home to parents.

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